One in four now grocery shop online ‘at least once a week’

The extent of the switch to online grocery shopping over the last six months has been confirmed and quantified by new research from Waitrose.

OnePoll research, conducted in July on behalf of the supermarket, among 2,000 nationally representative UK adults - and supported by online search trends and purchases on Waitrose.com - showed that last year, less than half of over 55 year-olds (47 per cent) did some of their food shopping online – a figure which has since increased to 74 per cent.

As for 35 to 44 year-olds, 32 per cent now do at least one online shop each week, compared to 16 per cent in 2019.

Crucially, 40 per cent of people surveyed said they will shop for groceries online more in the long term than pre-COVID.

A further 19 per cent said they will use a wider variety of online services - including fast delivery and Click and Collect - post-lockdown, while a quarter said they will do bigger grocery shops online in the future.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 17 per cent of people have been buying more wine online during lockdown, and orders on Waitrose Cellar have increased by 238 per cent – with 22 per cent of people stating they like the fact they didn’t have to carry the wine themselves.

Waitrose executive director James Bailey said: “Even before the pandemic, there are few retailers that wouldn’t have predicted the continued growth of e-commerce relative to physical shops.

“But what would have previously been a gradual upward climb in demand has - with the outbreak of COVID-19 - turned into a trajectory more reminiscent of scaling Everest.”

The retailer is mid-way through £100 million investment in Waitrose.com, which it predicts will account for 20 per cent of its total business, up from five per cent pre-COVID.

Having accelerated its online expansion rapidly in recent months, the website is on track to treble its size to become a £1 billion business in its own right by the end of the year – and the retailer has plans to increase order capacity to 250,000 weekly delivery slots.

Waitrose has also revamped the food innovation centre at its Bracknell headquarters, with 5,000 new or reformulated products.

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